I recently learned about the 1% approach to improvement. It is drawn from the work Sir David Brailsford did with the British cycling team to take them from dead last in the world of competitive cycling to Olympic gold medal status.
I am learning to apply it to self myofascial release, or what the Release Works Myofascial Therapy team refers to as myofascial self treatment.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing with self myofascial release
I tend to lean toward an all-or-nothing approach to things. I have been known to set some lofty goals and push aggressively toward them for a period of time. But the initial excitement and newness of things will often wear off, sometimes quickly, sometimes less quickly, until inevitably I am doing nothing.
Not gentler or easier. Not fewer reps, or shorter length, or less time. But nothing.
I could name quite a few things that have gone this way. Diet and nutrition changes, exercise, daily meditation practices, planned family activities, saving money. . . All started with good intentions, buying the books and supplies, reading the things, setting up the plans and reminders. Gung-ho for a bit.
Until it started to feel like a chore or a burden or no longer provided the thing I thought it would. Until I got bored or burned out on all the trying and doing. Then, nothing.
How small changes can make a big difference
The basic idea is that making 1% changes or improvements in a multitude of areas will aggregate to significant change overall. This might also be referred to as the marginal gains rule.
I am currently applying that to self myofascial release and my home routine.
I had pretty much stopped doing much self myofascial release on any sort of regular basis. I talk about, encourage, and suggest (a.k.a. stand on a soapbox and preach) a consistent daily self treatment practice to clients every day at work. There is a post somewhere about the pot (me) calling the kettle (everyone else not consistent about self treatment) black.
It’s been a thing for awhile.
Such that I haven’t been doing enough to care for my body and self in the ways I know help me feel best. I have been approaching it with the poor attitude of, if I can’t spend enough time to really feel I have made a difference, why bother to begin with? All. Or nothing.
How much time do I need?
There are 24 hours in a day, though. And 1% of that time is somewhere in the range of 14 minutes and 40 seconds. Do the math if you need.
I can get behind making a 1% improvement to my self myofascial release practice. It is almost 15 minutes more than the nothing I was doing. And in the scope of things is relatively a very, very small amount of time in my day.
It seems a bit silly to need something like that to motivate me to do what I know I need to do. To remind me to care for my body and self in the ways I know help me feel good. But it gives me something concrete to work with. And I am much less likely to get burned out doing 1% (instead of aiming for 110%).
It is rather simple to ask myself, out of all the things I am doing today, can I spend just 1% of my time in myofascial self treatment and care for my self? It’s a much better question than wondering why I didn’t get to it or what’s the matter with me that I can’t do what I work so hard to help others do.
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